The Aspen Times months ago published a thinly supported story suggesting that one of the local billionaires was in league with Vladimir Putin. The billionaire filed suit against the newspaper for defamation. The newspaper wanted to settle the case.
Meanwhile, the newspaper was recently bought by a family-owned group of several dozen small newspapers. Much of the family are Republicans, which may be the determinative fact in this story.
The new owners asked that the newspaper staff refrain from commenting on the pending litigation while settlement talks were ongoing. That’s standard and prudent in legal proceedings. You don’t want employees saying things that might become evidence at trial or disrupt the settlement negotiations.
The staff refused to follow instructions. For that, one was fired. Another quit, saying he had literally cried about being denied the “right” to say whatever he wanted to say in the newspaper, whenever he wanted to say it, regardless of the impact on the newspaper’s pending lawsuit and settlement negotiations.
OK, that’s how these things sort out. Bosses boss, children are childish, and crybabies cry. Life goes on.
But now it’s getting serious. A group of the Aspen progressive establishment – the leftist elite who control the town – recently sent a letter to the new owners demanding they reinstate the fired staff, publish the content (of dubious veracity) that was withheld while the litigation was pending, and promise that in the future they will follow the publishing diktats of the letter-signers. The letter to the newspaper and the newspaper’s reply are HERE.
The letter-signers include all five county commissioners, the mayor and a former mayor, numerous city councilmen from Aspen, Snowmass and nearby Basalt, and the challenger to the Republican representative for the Congressional District that includes Aspen. Every single one is a Democrat, as are over 70% of Aspen residents.
The letter-signers gave the newspaper owners two weeks to comply with their demands. If they don’t, then the letter-signers threaten “reactions.”
To make sure the newspaper owners get the message, the letter details the threatened “reactions.” They include:
“Directing our individual organizations to pull advertisements and notices from the paper; encouraging local businesses to do the same; refusing interviews with reporters at the Aspen Times; or calling for a boycott of the paper.”
This is astounding. Government officials explicitly referencing their government organizations are threatening to put a newspaper out of business as punishment for its editorial decisions about what to publish and when.
If these letter-signers as private citizens simply wanted to express their objections to the newspaper’s editorial decisions, fine. That’s what letters to the editor are for – to persuade or sometimes just to rant.
But they chose coordinated actions in their capacity as government officials to overtly threaten the existence of the newspaper.
That’s not persuasion, that’s not ranting, and that’s not legal. It’s a violation of the First Amendment because it’s governmental action abridging freedom of the press. The autocratic arrogance and legal unsophistication of these officials who should know better or at least be better advised, is truly breathtaking.
I hope they get their bullying butts sued.
Note to them: The case against you would be in federal court since the First Amendment issue is a federal one. You probably don’t know this, but there’s no federal court in Aspen. The forum would therefore be in Denver, presided over by a judge and adjudicated by a jury of people living in or near Denver. You may carry a lot of clout in your Aspen echo chambers where you’ve effectively banned dissenting viewpoints, but in Denver and the rest of the world they think you’re just a bunch of weirdos.
As an aside, this incident prompted me to reflect on my own firing from the Aspen Times a few years ago after I’d become a very popular conservative writer in a very liberal town. Perhaps the pressure to fire me culminated in a letter from these Aspen elites to the old owners something like this latest one to the new owners.
But the broader issue is not little ol’ me, of course, nor even the much bigger matter of the Aspen Times or its new owners. It’s the methodology of the left.
The left doesn’t seek to persuade. They abandoned the art of persuasion after losing most of the debates years ago. Now they coerce, bully and threaten. The conscious political strategy of the party of tolerance is . . . intolerance.
When the Supreme Court makes an abortion decision they don’t like, the left illegally leaks the opinion and threatens the Justices at their homes. Just for good measure, they burn down pregnancy centers.
When parents attend school board meetings to object to the woke curriculum, the left gets the FBI to investigate them as domestic terrorists.
When students or even tenured faculty challenge the politically correct dogma of universities, the left gets them suspended, expelled or fired.
And when Republicans purchase a local newspaper, the left threatens to put them out of business unless the new owners surrender editorial content decisions to the left.
The left bullies people in this manner not just because they enjoy it (though they clearly do) but because it works, for a while anyway. It intimidates everyone into pretending to comply – everyone from corporate boards to university administrators to not-for-profit charities to media outlets to cocktail party guests. Under such pressure, everyone folds as fast as Joe Biden trying to ascend the stairs of Air Force One.
But such victories are as unenduring as they are unearned. The left may successfully intimidate people in the public square, but not in the private voting booth. In November, they’ll see the limits to their methods.
Things worked out after the Aspen Times fired me. This blog now has over 800,000 readers, which is roughly 100-times the circulation of the Aspen Times. Join my readers with a free subscription HERE or by simply sending an email to theAspenbeat@gmail.com
A Russian says, “The government pretends to pay me and I pretend to work.”
Once again it is demonstrated that allowing a SINGLE Social Justice Warrior to infiltrate any organization is tantamount to allowing a single cancer cell to survive; it is a death sentence. That’s how cancer works; once established, it replicates vigorously, eventually overwhelming the host and replacing all the original “good” cells with deadly, cancerous ones. In the case of the Aspen Times, the SJW infection had already overwhelmed the organization itself before it was purchased by the new owners. One could draw an analogy to the situation that obtained when President Trump was inaugurated. Despite his election by clearly legal sufficiency, those who opposed him had burrowed deeply and widely into the clerical/administrative/political entity comprising the federal government, and they were not going to accept the change in leadership. The only effective way to deal with such an organization-wide infiltration is radical surgery; removal of the ENTIRE cancerous tumor regardless of the risk posed to the entity itself. Obviously, if the surgery is successful, the entity survives in the form desired by its original and proper leadership. If it does not survive, there is no reason to mourn the passing of the cancerous organization, since it no longer bears any relationship to the original entity. The new ownership of the Times must, if it wishes to survive, perform radical surgery on the staff, firing any and all who transgressed its editorial dictates or sympathized with those who did. If that results in any of the actions threatened by the signers of the referenced letter, legal action should be taken if at all possible, and at the very least, continued publication of the Times should be underwritten by the owners for a sufficiently long period of time for those disaffected by the paper’s actions to lose interest. If ownership is not willing or able to do so, it should simply pull the plug on the Times immediately, fire everyone, close up shop, sell everything and move on. History demonstrates that leftists, if resisted, eventually go on to other victims who show less vigorous opposition to their actions. Vox Day is entirely accurate in his advice to NEVER apologize, NEVER accommodate, NEVER waver in your position or retract a single thing. The left thrives on perceived weakness and folds up like a cheap suitcase in a rainstorm when it encounters resistance.
I love than Aspen is in Lauren Boebert’s Congressional district.
I feel as you do, Steve, but so does the other side. Aspen’s elected elites, for example, also perceive themselves as trying assiduously to excise a cancer before it metastasizes. This is why, I feel, as long as court decisions are not respected and election results are not trusted, war of some kind is as inevitable as it was in the 1850s, or in the four decades prior to the guns of August in 1914.
On the subject of election integrity, I am fascinated by the current endeavor by many on the right to join the left in affirming the results of the 2020 election, suggesting that only the disordered personalities of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani could allege such widespread fraud. It’s like an obviously ill person declaring, “Hey, I’m OK, It’s just a small cough and some sniffles.” I am reminded in particular of a far-gone syphilitic in the novel “Red Sky at Morning” who, when asked how he’s doing, always replies, “Hundred percent! Hundred percent.”
Meanwhile, the future combatants are busy trying to control the matter of who gets to own guns and amass the most ammo. Even the IRS requires a lot of ammo, it seems. But it’s highly likely that this war won’t even be fought with guns, except in minor skirmishes.
Glenn, welcome to cancel culture! It will be interesting to hear what Lauren Boebert (that Republican representative for the Congressional District that includes Aspen) has to say if this comes to her attention.
How times change. I remember a movie made by Walt Disney eons ago about a litle girl who lived in the town of Aspen Colorado — an exotic remote location to the American public at the time — and needed new skis to get around (isn’t that how people in Colorado get from place-to-place?). She earned the money by delivering newspapers; on her skis, of course. I can’t recall whether it was the Aspen Times she delivered.
The bullying of the Left has got to be stopped as they are increasingly out of control. I hope the owners of the Aspen Times sue the %#$@ out of every one of the signers of that threatening letter.
Truly a frightening time we are in with blatant illegal and destructive actions escalating by the Left. It may be true if you
vote Republican you could die!!
The Aspen elitists, i.e., progressive fascists, are aping Il Duce … while playing Saul Alinsky tactics by accusing their targets of the fascism they so commonly practice. The totalitarian gene and impulse reside deeply within such elitists.
“Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity (11). It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people.”
In the meantime … whenever the globalist, intolerant, elite, progressive fascists attempt to shut you down, find some inspiration from this man, August Landmesser.
Be more like him …
The essence of fascism is the idea that the individual has rights only as a member of some corporate entity, be it an actual corporation, a guild or an interest group. This means that who a person is and who they can aspire to be, and “everything they think do and say” is to be determined by their corporate affiliation. Whether one can oppose the regime or not, and what kind of opposition they are allowed to mount is likewise controlled by the regime itself. Before the supposed fall of communism, East Germany was the East Bloc’s laboratory of advanced socialism. Before the swift and surprising end came, East Germany had allowed opposition parties to exist, for example the Christian Democratic Party. But the space given allowed opposition was really only a place of social sequester for tame opponents of the regime.
We have the same thing going on here. What is Beltway conservatism but a place of sequester for upscale conservatives? They have their incomes, their homes, their thinks tanks, their syndicated columns, their right to publicly complain. Their children go to the university and get to follow in their footsteps or break away as they wish. But the intention is, they have no real power.
The regime, of course, wants only controlled opposition, meaning opposition that is guaranteed to be unavailing. That’s one thing, but they want more. They want the right to determine who is allowed to be in opposition and who isn’t based on their corporate identification, which itself will be determined by the regime. The direction the regime has moved in is to deny unaccredited opponents, usually poor, working class and lower middle class people, the right to be in opposition, based on their assigned membership in some certain interest group.
Surprisingly, this regime has existed already and in a functional form in Italy during the Mussolini era. People forget, Mussolini was a socialist too. What are the progressives working toward? Scratch them, and they might admit, socialism with American characteristics. On the ground, it’s more likely to be progressive fascism with American characteristics and little Castroite Marxism thrown in to keep the far left under control. Don’t doubt it’s what they want.
I remember reading in Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” that both Mussolini and Hitler were devotees of Karl Marx. Marxism has always been the roots of both fascism and Bolshevism. The two ideologies share the same common totalitarian motives and traits, only one emphasizes nationalism and/or racism while the other emphasizes internationalism. Fascists and communists hate each other because they are both in competition for the same people, i.e., the “proletariat.”
Even notice right now how the People’s Republic of China has become Communist In Name Only. The compelled egalitarianism of Maoism has been disregarded, while Mao himself is still held in high esteem. China is now operationally fascist with its creation of vast government owned and operated for-profit corporations that practice a modern form of mercantilism.
These Chinese corporation, think of the telecom Hua Wei among others, are intertwined with the Chinese government and/or the People’s Liberation Army, much like the “fasces” Mussolini envisioned. This is textbook fascism, but China would never declare itself fascist as this is one of the few labels that still draws international condemnation. The label fascism still ranks down there with pedophilia and cannibalism.
I think that China is using this fascist model to its advantage for the time being. If it’s people get too out of line with their wealth, prosperity, luxury products and such, then the ChiComs will flip the switch and revert back to the Maoist model. This is all about state control, first and foremost. I can see them modulating between fascism and Maoism as a means to keep their people off balance and therefore easier to control. The ChiComs might be okay with the wealth and prosperity for the time being, but if their people become too uppity, they’ll easily flip the switch and create another Cultural Revolution because power is always their goal.
Glen, spot on as usual. I am hoping the new owners factored the liberal venom in to their purchase price.
I hope you will keep your readership informed on how this goes.
Your headline nails it: THIS is fascism.
To Glenn … on a more personal note, your columns are a great insight into your local Aspen area. Aspen is a microcosm of the rest of America, albeit with its own regional customs, quirks, and idiosyncrasies.
While I am in Temecula California, a small and relatively conservative oasis within deep blue California, providing outsiders like me with a peek into Aspen’s issues, challenges, and inner workings has been quite insightful, interesting and even entertaining.
So anyways, wishing you all there a Happy Independence Day … make the local liberal fascists choke and gag on their $7 lattes by proudly displaying America’s Star Spangled Banner.
Perhaps the Great Communicator, Ronaldus Magnus, said it best …
“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.”
― Ronald Reagan
“ The autocratic arrogance and legal unsophistication of these officials who should know better or at least be better advised, is truly breathtaking.”
They know exactly what they’re doing. It’s not out of ignorance, it’s out of unbridled arrogance. They’ve always been able to get away with their increasingly egregious behavior. But as the Supreme Court has shown us in the last two weeks, those days may be coming to an end. Not soon enough for me.
These are the same kinds of people who use the Constitution to destroy it. if the new owners sue over this then the fun starts leading to what I believe will be the local gauleiters eventually pulling in their horns.
The first thing Hitler did when he came to power was shut down all of the newspapers that criticized his political methods.
Apparently the illiberal government leaders in Aspen aren’t familiar with the First Amendment, which they are violating:
Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press
In case the leaders in Aspen are confused: YOU’RE “Congress” (the government) and The Aspen Times is “the press”. Keep abridging their freedom of speech and they’ll be able to sue you collectively and individually for enough damages to ruin your lives. Your call.
It’s the “sue them individually” part that would get them back in line rather quickly. Like a barking dog protected by a fence often times cowers when the fence is removed.
Most people don’t understand fascism. You have described it perfectly in this essay. Like you I hope their are sued to the next century. This is disgusting but the only way to stop it is to fight back
When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts; when you have the law on your side; argue the law; and when you have neither, pound the table. Methinks the public will tire of all these angry leftists pounding the table. Here’s hoping they receive a good shellacking this November. Otherwise, America will circle the drains…
Glenn Beaton for Aspen Times editor!
Funny how actual fascism is never recognized as fascism when Progressives literally engage in it. Yes, it will be entertaining to see all these fascists have that brought to their attention is a court of law.
To the new owners:
I am one of the 800,000 ‘fans of Glenn’. If you run his column I will subscribe
Just ask them about when a college tried to interfere with a bakery…
Based on the results every other time there has been a “red wave,” what makes you think the outcome of this fall’s elections is really going to change anything? Spoiler alert: This time will be no different.
Based on the pattern we’ve seen in recent decades, what makes you think the outcome of this fall’s elections will really change anything substantive? Spoiler alert: It won’t.
Seems to me that if these people want to direct the paper’s editorial policy without owning it, they ought to agree to indemnify the paper against any claims arising out of their preferred actions and should do it personally so that their sincerity can be measured. This is of course sarcastic – censorious asshats would never do that.
The methodology of the left is limited to shaming and bullying. It works a lot of the time.
Bob Nutting will not back down on his principles and beliefs–research his history and relationship with the city of Pittsburgh’s political leaders, newspapers, and fans as the owner of our once major league Pittsburgh Pirates team. You can safely bet that this cadre of Aspen billionaires and elite leftists are wholly unprepared–Mr. Nutting will never blink first, if at all–and he truly will not care.
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Hahaha! What a joke Aspen has become. I wish I still lived there so I could terrorize all these far lefties with a dose of reality that the real locals are well qualified to do.
It’s all measured out on the mountain and in the back country where not one of them can even negotiate. BD
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One of the many gems in this great, great, Glenn Beaton piece is this: “The left doesn’t seek to persuade. They abandoned the art of persuasion after losing most of the debates years ago. Now they coerce, bully and threaten. The conscious political strategy of the party of tolerance is . . . intolerance.”